Review: A week with Lenovo's IdeaCenter A600
Lenovo' IdeaCenter A600 is a well-specced, big-screen all-in-one cheap enough to make nettops look like an iffy deal. With a 1920x1080 20.5" display, great looks and an optional TV Tuner, the starting price of just $680 presents a sensible choice for those wanting a capable "main machine" on a budget.
Every model includes a keyboard and mouse, and they come with Windows Vista pre-installed. The $680 model has a Core 2 Duo T4200 CPU, 2GB RAM, a 320GB hard drive and Intel X4500 video. Top of the line is a $1,150 model with Core 2 Duo P7450, 4GB RAM, 1TB of hard drive space, ATI HD3650 graphics, universal remote and Blu-Ray drive. A card reader, WiFi-n, gigabit ethernet, 6 USB ports and firewire polish it off.
Tested, it's a fine machine: as responsive as the specs would suggest and nicely put together. It's fully $500 cheaper than a similarly-specced iMac and only $180 more than the Eee Top
, a computer only good for lightweight use. Indeed, it's tempting to see how well the A600 does as a hackintosh.
What to complain about, given the price? Annoying pre-installed software: the Veriface app, a pointless security totem at login, also watches you through the webcam during normal use and warns you if your posture is bad, or if you are too close to the screen. The system security stuff plays loud stupid siren noises. Gaming performance won't match the iMac, which has superior Nvidia graphics options. And it lacks the touchscreen on HP's all-in-one and the Eee Top.
Bluetooth, with the trackpad keyboard and remote control come, only comes with TV tuner setups: the rest of us get a cheapo wired set.
Bottom line: The A600 is a good choice for non-gamers wanting an all-in-one Windows PC, and it comes so cheap that equivalent offerings seem overpriced. Those used to 24" monitors, however, will feel a little cramped.
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